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GREENPEACE CALLS FOR A PHASE OUT OF THE DIOXIN FORMING PLASTIC PVC

Greenpeace press release March 14, 1996.

GREENPEACE CALLS ON TORONTO TO DROP 'TOXIC PIPING'

Greenpeace press release March 20, 1996.

NEW REPORT CONFIRMS TORONTO MUST RESTRICT USE OF VINYL

Greenpeace press release April 26, 1996.

TORONTO TAKES ACTION AGAINST VINYL

Greenpeace press release April 29, 1996.

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An answer of the Chlorophiles

Origin: Press releases of Greenpeace USA asking for a ban on PVC, at the release of the book 'Our Stolen Future', by Dr. Theo Colburn, e.a. and actions to force a ban of PVC piping in Toronto. The original press releases can be found in the Greenpeace Gopher press-releases overview.

The first can be found directly under 3-14 action now against toxic hormones dioxin and PVCs and covers the release of Theo Coburns book 'Our Stolen Future'
The second can be found under 3/21 Greenpeace calls on Toronto to drop 'Toxic piping'. This is a call of Greenpeace to the City of Toronto, to ban PVC pipes in drinking water supplies and waste water drainage at a hearing on March, 25.
The tird is on: 4/29, 1996: New Report Confirms Toronto Must Restrict Use of Vinyl. This is the last attempt to convince the City of Toronto to ban PVC and covers the release of the Greenpeace report 'Taking back our stolen future'.
The last is a Greenpeace-style story to hide that they lost the battle: 4/30, 1996: Toronto Takes Action Against Vinyl.

To all the same answer applies.
After reading the Greenpeace press release on 'action now against toxic hormones dioxin and PVC's', you should read the pages of the author, Theo Colburn, of Our Stolen Future.

After that you should read the answer of Bruce N. Ames at:
Aging, Cancer, & Hormones: Our Future Has Not Been Stolen


PVC AND DIOXINS

It is true that dioxins are very toxic materials and are probable human carcinogens and hormone disrupturers. But asking for a ban on the 'dioxin producing' vinyl plastic PVC is scientifically nonsens. Every material produces very small amounts of dioxins during raw material extraction, production, energy use, recycling and/or (accidental) incineration.

Based on facts and figures, measured by governemental dioxin inventories in The Netherlands and Flanders (the North of Belgium) and estimates in the US/Canada (see sources of dioxins) you can conclude that:

The amount of dioxins, really emitted to the environment by a factory, producing hundredthousands tonnes of chlorine and PVC per year, is as low as what one (Greenpeace-)ship releases during a working year. The release of other (non) persistent, carcinogenic toxics is less than what one single truck emits as soot. Not a reason for Greenpeace to use sailboats instead of their heavely polluting ships, neither to stop all traffic.

The release of dioxins by steel manufacturing, namely from the sintering of iron ore, is fifty to hundreds of times higher than from alle chlorine and chlorine related factories together. The same is true for the use of wood in wood stoves and open fire places. No reason for Greenpeace to ask for a ban on steel uses, neither to use alternative materials for their steel ships, nor to start actions against the use of wood for heating.

The amount of dioxins, released by the production and/or recycling of equal quantities of glass, wood (furniture), steel, aluminium, copper, etc... is in many cases higher than of the production, use, recycling, disposal and (accidental) fire of PVC. Not a reason for Greenpeace to ask for a ban on all these materials...

There is no relation between the amount of chlorine in a material and the amount of dioxins, released when burned or incinerated. Only the quality of incineration matters. An accidental fire of hundreds of tonnes PVC and PVC-containing materials emits less dioxins than the use of equal amounts of fuel in a (Greenpeace-) ship, although PVC contains more than 500,000 times more chlorine.


PVC, phthalates AND HORMONAL CHANGES

The toxicity of the plastifier DEHP is about ten times less than of alcohol (see chlorine and hormonal changes. It has some toxic, carcinogenic, hormonal properties at a very high dose on rats, equivalent to several hundreds grams a day for an adult human. No such properties are seen on the low doses (about 0.1 grams a year) a human ingests by using soft PVC... Primates (apes and humans) have a complete different metabolism. PVC, including DEHP, is the only thoroughly tested plastic which may be used for bloodbags and other medical supplies, because no influence whatsoever was found and PVC conserves blood much longer than any other material, including glass.

Greenpeace 'forgets' to mention that the phtalate family is abundant in nature: you ingest much more phthalates with vegetables like sellery and lovage (levisticum officinale) than with PVC...

Greenpeace 'forgets' to mention that some possible hormone disruptors, like octyl- and nonylphenol are used in higher quantities in all plastics as anti-oxydant and in very large quantities in detergents, not a reason for Greenpeace to ask for a ban on all plastics or the detergent or petrochemical industry.

Greenpeace also 'forgets' to mention the scientific evidence, not only that wooddust is a rather potent human carcinogen, but also that natural remainders of wood are responsible for the change of behaviour of fish into the other sexe at the effluent of paper works (if they use chlorine or not or don't bleach at all!). Not a reason for Greenpeace to ask for a ban on wood and paper and for a change toward (environmental) safer alternatives like PVC.

Greenpeace 'forgets' to mention that the synthetic pyrethroids are found to have possible oestrogenic properties. We are waiting for an investigation of the by biological gardeners - myself included - widely used natural pyrethroids.

If any further research should discover that phthalates do have any unwanted effect at the doses ingested by the use of soft PVC, they should be replaced, which can be done - with some investigation - by other products like adipates, which do not contain a phenolic group, the common factor in nearly all (possible) hormonal active substances.

Rigid PVC as it is used in pipes, windowframes and mineral water bottles doesn't contain phthalates or other softeners.

Greenpeace uses the story of Theo Colburn, 'Our Stolen Future' to point to PVC as THE main hormone disrupter. For that occasion the submitted a new report, 'Taking back our Stolen Future'. That report is so overdone to point only to PVC, that it cannot be taken serious.


THE FINAL VOTE

The final vote at the Toronto Council was eleven to five against a ban/phase out of PVC. Greenpeace tries to mask that in a long story.
The Council voted to stop incinerating PVC pipes in municipal incinerators. Although PVC doesn't influence the dioxin amount coming out of the incinerator, it can be better recycled...
That PVC pipe must not be used in contaminated soil is right, solvents like petrol can migrate through any plastic, including PVC, especially at the joints. In that case metal (and NO concrete!) piping should be used.
The other points voted in Toronto have no importance.


PVC AND POLITICAL BANS

In some European towns, states and countries a political ban was voted on the use of PVC, because of lies and half truths, widespread by Greenpeace. Several European towns and states, including Berlin, Lengerich, The Netherlands and Belgium have or are going to withdrawn or soften earlier decisions on banning PVC, after thorough examination of the scientific evidence, when comparing PVC with other materials on energy use, the use of non-renewable resources, air- and water pollution during manufacturing, use, recycling and deposit. In all cases PVC was found to be one of the least problematic materials.

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All this evidence can be found (or will be found when ready) on the Chlorophiles pages and in the scientific reports, where the Chlorophiles pages are based on.

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You are at level one of the Chlorophiles answer pages.

Created: March 14, 1996.
Last update: May 3, 1998.

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